People from all walks of life have attended the funeral service of journalist and author Les Carlyon at Flemington racecourse.
Hundreds gathered on Tuesday including the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and Lady Cosgrove, former prime minister John Howard and a host of journalists, trainers and racing industry leaders to celebrate the life of Carlyon who died last week, aged 76.
Horse-racing was a passion for Carlyon who was a former editor of The Age in Melbourne, editor-in-chief at the Herald and Weekly Times and wrote numerous books, including The Master, about Bart Cummings.
He also wrote Gallipoli and later earned the Prime Minister's prize for Australian History for his book The Great War.
Carlyon was described a “journalistic genius” by broadcaster Neil Mitchell who said “tributes have shown how many lives he touched”.
“He was the best journalist Australia has produced, certainly in the last 50 years, maybe ever,” Mitchell said.
“His fingerprints are all over newspapers and the voices on radio.”
Journalist Andrew Rule described Carylon as the “poet laureate of the track”.
“Without you Les, there'd be no bronze statue of Bart downstairs,” he said.
Ashley Ekins, head of the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial, formed a friendship with the writer 22 years ago as Carlyon embarked on research for his book Gallipoli.
“Gallipoli never left Les,” Ekins said.
“When he finished the book, he wanted to know more.
“He was admired and loved for his genuine sincerity, his presence and wit.”
Author and literary agent Deb Callaghan worked with Carlyon for more than 25 years and remembered him for his “deft dry wit and ferocious loyalty”.
“He took his writing seriously, but not himself,” she said.